INDIANAPOLIS — Boxing is more than just athletics for Kareem Hines, it’s how he connects with kids.
In 2020, CBS4 first introduced you to Hines and his youth boxing program, “Guns Down, Gloves Up”, which he runs through his New Breed of Youth (or New B.O.Y.) organization.
The program teaches kids conflict resolution without resulting to violence.
“It gives us a way to engage the young men in physical activity, which they really appeal to boxing, but also provides that platform to talk about how to handle conflicts without someone dying,” said Hines.
So far this year, Indianapolis has seen more homicide victims, younger than 18, compared to years past.
Just last week, Michael Duerson III, was shot and killed on the city’s east side. The 16-year-old’s death made for the seventh on record.
“It’s very frustrating. It’s heartbreaking, and that’s not what we need in this country and in this city,” said Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement Judith Thomas.
City leaders are hoping to curb the trend through its Safe Summer Program, which runs from June 10 to Aug. 5.
Through partnerships with local agencies and groups, the program provides free food and activities on Friday nights for youth, ages 13 and up. Among the several groups involved are Pacers Sports and Entertainment, IUPUI Men’s Basketball and New B.O.Y’s “Guns Down, Gloves Up”.
The activities will be provided at three Indy Parks locations, including Washington, Riverside and Garfield.
“We’re looking for more partners,” said Thomas, “and the opportunity for young people to actually learn about tech, or learn about what’s going on at universities and types of programs, what type of jobs that are out there, athletics.”
Hines, whose New B.O.Y. organization also provides year-round mentorship and youth development, said it’s a team effort to provide a better path for kids.
“Once we make the connection, then we can start making a correction,” he said.
“They are mimicking what they see. They are mimicking what they hear. So as adults, we can’t adopt that mentality where meet me halfway works,” he added. “We have to go down to the kid’s levels.”